What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 90

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Topic 10:   The fact that God is Love.

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POINT 10:   God is love. Not merely God loves, but God is love. Love is the very essence of His moral nature. He is the source of all love.

      1 John 4:8, 16 [8] Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. [16] And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

      1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.


   QUESTION: What is love?

      1 John 3:16-17 [16] This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. [17] If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

      Matthew 5:44-45 [44] But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

   Love is a desire that the one loved will fare well. It is delight at seeing the loved one live well, not simply by accumulating material possessions, but by having peace, harmony, happiness and contentment, as well as having enough possessions to meet the person's physical needs.

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Topic 20:   Whom does God love?

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POINT 10:   God loves His Son Jesus. God's Son is the original and eternal Object of His love.

      Matthew 3:17 (Jesus' baptism) And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

      Matthew 17:5 (The Transfiguration) While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

      Luke 20:13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.'

   Note: In the parable of the vineyard owner, the owner symbolizes Jehovah and the owner's son symbolizes Jesus.

      John 17:24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

   If God is eternal love, that love must have an eternal object. There must, because of a necessity in the Divine Being Himself, be a multiplicity of persons in the Godhead. The eternal object of the Divine Love is the Eternal Son.

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POINT 12:   Jehovah loves Jesus because of Jesus' willingness to sacrifice so that others who cannot save themselves may be saved.

      John 10:17-18 [17] The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life -- only to take it up again. [18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

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POINT 20:   God loves those who are united to the Son by faith and love.

      John 16:27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

      John 14:21, 23 [21] Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." [23] Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

   As we will see shortly, God loves all men. However, He has an especial love for those who are in Christ.

      John 17:22-23 [22] I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: [23] I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

   God feels precisely the same love toward those who are in Christ that He feels toward Christ Himself. Of course there is a love of God to those who are now in Christ which is antecedent to their love to Christ.

      1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

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POINT 30:   God loves the world - the whole human race, and each individual in it.

      John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

      1 Timothy 2:3-4 [3] This is good, and pleases God our Savior, [4] who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

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POINT 40:   God loves the sinner, the ungodly, those steeped in sin.

      Romans 5:6-8 [6] You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. [7] Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. [8] But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      Ephesians 2:4-5 [4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.

      Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'

   God does not have the same love for the unrepentant sinner that He has for those who live in Christ. See John 14:21, 23 and John 17:22-23 in Point 20 above.

      Romans 8:30-39 [30] And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. [31] What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? [33] Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? [36] As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, [39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

   God has an especial interest in lost ones.

      Luke 15:7-10 [7] I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. [8] "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? [9] And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' [10] In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

   The difference in God's love can be understood by a father's love for an upright and faithful son as compared to his love for a wayward son.

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Topic 30:   How does the Love of God manifest itself?

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POINT 10:   God's love manifests itself in ministering to the need and joy of those He loves, and protecting them from all evil.

      Isaiah 48:14, 20-21 [14] "Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things? The LORD's chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon; his arm will be against the Babylonians. [20] Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob." [21] They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.

      Deuteronomy 32:9-12 [9] For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. [10] In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, [11] like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. [12] The LORD alone led him; no foreign god was with him.

      Deuteronomy 33:3-4, 12 [3] Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction, [4] the law that Moses gave us, the possession of the assembly of Jacob. [12] About Benjamin he said: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."

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POINT 20:   God's love manifests itself in chastening and scourging His loved ones for their profit, that out of this chastening the peaceable fruit of righteousness may come.

      Hebrews 12:6-11 [6] because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." [7] Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? [8] If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. [9] Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! [10] Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. [11] No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteous- ness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

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POINT 30:   God's love is shown in that it pains God to see His loved ones suffer, even when that suffering comes from His own hand.

      Isaiah 63:9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

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POINT 40:   God's love is manifested in His never forgetting those He loves. It may seem to us that He forgets, but He never does.

      Isaiah 49:15-16 [15] Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! [16] See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

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POINT 50:   God's love has manifested itself by His making the greatest sacrifice in His power for those He loves -- the sacrifice of His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

      1 John 4:9-10 [9] This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. [10] This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

      John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


   Sacrifice is the measure of love. The fact that He allowed the sacrifice of Christ, His only begotten Son, is the measure of God's love.

      Compare Genesis 22:12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

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POINT 52:   God's love is shown by the fact that He does not hold Himself to a lesser standard than that which He expects from us.

   God asked for the sacrifice of Abraham's only son. However, He did not require Abraham to actually go through with it and, in fact, expressly forbade it. As discussed above on page 57, 58, God does not hold Himself to a lesser standard than what He expects from us. To atone for our sins, God allowed the actual sacrificial death of Jesus.

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POINT 54:   Jesus' love is shown by the His voluntary submission to torture and death so that sinners can be saved.

   Although we frequently think of God the Father when we hear the word "God", of course, Jesus is also God, and Jesus didn't sacrifice his son, since He didn't have one. Jehovah didn't order Jesus to become man and undergo death. Jesus volunteered to save men and allowed Himself to be degraded, tortured, and crucified.

      1 Timothy 2:5-6 [5] For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all men -- the testimony given in its proper time.

      John 10:15, 17-18 [15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- and I lay down my life for the sheep. [17] The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life -- only to take it up again. [18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

   Jesus did not undergo crucifixion because He was outnumbered and unable to prevent it.

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POINT 56:   Jesus' love is proved in that He could have prevented His crucifixion, but He allowed it so that sinners can be saved.

      Matthew 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

      2 Kings 19:35 That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning -- there were all the dead bodies!

   A single legion is ten thousand (a Roman legion was around 6,000). Jesus could have had more than 120,000 angels appear instantly to defend Him if He requested it.  The Angel of the LORD was Jesus before He became man. Obviously, Jesus had the power to prevent His own death. If He had done so, sinners would not be saved.

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POINT 60:   God's love manifests itself in His forgiving sins.

      Isaiah 38:17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

      Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

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POINT 70:   God's love manifests itself: (1) in His imparting life to those dead in trespasses and sins. (2) In His raising them up with Christ. (3) In his making them sit with Christ in the heavenly places. (4) In His showing to us in the ages to come the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

      Ephesians 2:4-9 [4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- [9] not by works, so that no one can boast.

   God has only begun to do for us. The fullness of His love is not yet manifested. It is just beginning to unfold itself.

      1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

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POINT 80:   God's love manifests itself in His granting us that "we should be called children of God."

      1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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POINT 90:   God's love manifests itself in His rejoicing over His saved people with joy and singing.

      Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

      Compare Luke 15:23-24 [23] Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. [24] For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

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